In a draft audit obtained by the Baron, the Students Representative Council has reported a deficit of over $45,000 for the 2014/15 fiscal year.
The audit, which reports the financial position of the company from May 1, 2014 to April 30, 2015, outlines that the SRC brought in over $340,000 in revenue, and spent $385,000 during the fiscal period.
In a meeting of the student council on August 27, 2015 vice president finance, Alex Nichols noted, “contingency funds are not as high as what they have been in previous years.”
However, current SRC president and previous year’s vice president external, Jordan Tracey, says that he only found out about the overspending 10 months later through the auditors.
“Rob told us we had money in the bank” Jordan Tracey
“Last year we were low on cash but we made it through the summer.” Says Tracey confirming the financial state of the SRC when he took control of the organization.
“Rob told us we had money in the bank”, says Tracey, referring to the former vice president finance Rob Gale.
“You trust people in the position they were hired for, because they know what they are talking about.”
Despite beginning the term in a tight financial position as a result of decreased cash reserves, there have been no questions about last year’s finances from council and no update was released to council regarding the year end position prior to the audit being presented.
Tracey believes there was nothing wrong with the way the finances were presented to council saying that he felt it was his own lack of knowledge about the accounts that led to the surprise.
“I think it was appropriately done,” says Tracey, referring to the finances and the performance of current vice president finance Alex Nichols.
”We are very transparent, we aren’t hiding anything, that’s for sure,” Tracey continued.
Past and current council responds
When asked about the deficit spending last year that came to light in the audit, Jen Brown, former vice president student affairs stated, “we left thinking there was going to be a surplus left for the next year, this is very much a surprise.”
“I feel that we were all misled, I thought we were doing great with money, we were talking about other things we could do in terms of sponsorships and scholarships because I thought we were in a really good place with money.”
Brown does admit there were some areas that the previous executive overspent.
“It seemed like there was conference after conference and two people going, I just felt that it was unnecessary, and we were over on [the conferences budget]”, but clarifies that they were under budget elsewhere so it never raised her concern.
According to the minutes from the council meeting in April 2015, the previous vice president finance, Rob Gale, reported that the SRC was $27,000 under-budget with one month remaining in the financial year.
Ashley Macosky, who served on the SRC last year as the mature student representative, was upset to hear about how far off the actual spending was compared to what was being presented.
“We were told not to worry about the money, that the money was ok,” says Macosky.
“[The executive] did say that the budget was tight and we were walking a fine line, but we had no idea that this was coming; we were misinformed or not informed at all.”
The current council seemed equally as shocked when asked about the deficit from last year, despite being presented with the audit at the last meeting.
“I don’t know anything about it. Maybe speak with Jordan,” said Jayme Dixon, mature student representative on the council.
Another councillor who asked to remain anonymous stated, “I haven’t seen anything about any deficit”.
Despite the audit and its findings, Tracey remains optimistic about the finances.
“I think $60,000 should get us through the summer”, says Tracey. “Our job is to provide student experience, and do so in a responsible manner.”
As it stands in the original budget for this year, the SRC has projected a surplus of $4000. Traditionally the SRC has tried to keep a minimum of $100,000 in the bank to cover summer expenses.
The Baron attempted to reach Rob Gale former vice president finance, and Chris Mahar, former president and Vice president finance, Alex Nichols for comment. None of these individuals provided a comment prior to publication of this story.